Mirzapur 2 review: Game of thrones!
The series succeeds in humanizing even the seemingly tough-guy characters.
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Monday 26 October 2020
Mirzapur 2 review: Game of thrones!
Gurmmeet Singh, Mihir Desai
Pankaj Tripathi, Divyenndu Sharmaa, Ali Fazal, Shweta Tripathi, Harshita Gaur, Rasika Dugal, Rajesh Tailang, Sheeba Chadha, Anjum Sharma, Vijay Varma, Amit Sial, Isha Talwar, Priyanshu Painyuli
This morning I chanced upon a humorous tweet that said – ‘Our culture is not your next web-series’. Uttar Pradesh has been the toast of Bollywood for long, and now it’s the turn of the web-series. Tales of mobs, guns and violence especially find it convenient to set the story in the Indian hinterland, given that UP has a given onscreen reputation.
Mirzapur Season 2 begins with a snapshot of the first season. Interestingly, in Season 2, the second generation begins to assert themselves. Take Munna for instance, torn as he is between impressing his father (Kaleen bhaiya, who lords over Mirzapur) and rebelling against his authority. The father, on the other hand, is torn between preparing him for taking over the ‘throne’ and overlooking his constant questionable behavior. Honestly, this could be any confused parent wondering if the child is ready to take over a business, despite the child proving again and again they are still raw. Kaleen Bhaiya (Pankaj Tripathi) sits on the throne with unease as Munna grows increasingly impatient.
There are similar sub-plots within the four major families involved in the story— the Tripathis, Pandits, Shuklas, and Tyagis. There is a revenge story at the base of it all, headlined by Guddu Pandit (Ali Fazal) and Golu (Shweta Tripathi) who want to avenge the murders of their siblings.
Even for someone who doesn’t like gratuitous violence, this series holds a lot of promise. There’s the riveting angle of constantly shifting power equations, dark secrets within a household, and almost every character a victim of toxic masculinity that thrives on ego battles and bloodshed.
Directed by Gurmmeet Singh and Mihir Desai, the series succeeds in humanizing even the seemingly tough-guy characters. The tall and well-built Guddu Pandit mourns his brother and in that vulnerable state, asks Golu if crying will make him weak. Another powerful character calls himself an NPA (non-performing asset) and humbles himself enough to pay a visit to the local sexologist.
Season 2 has far better production quality, but continues the trope of excessive dialogue-baazi and casual sexism in the form of gendered abuses. After a while, it gets tiresome to see the similar shots of a mansion followed by a cavalcade of cars.
A pervert looking for a victim constantly watches television about a lion looking to hunt. This metaphor is made so tediously obvious that when he identifies a new victim, the voiceover on the television corresponds to that. Then, of course, you have the tired chess-playing analogy when someone is offering tactical advice.
Despite these obvious metaphors and cliches, the series remains riveting for the most part. The generational conflicts in the Tripathi household, with other sinister secrets that need to be kept under wraps, keeps one hooked. The Tripathi household drama is so absorbing because the layered characters are played by such powerhouse actors.
Pankaj Tripathi effortlessly lords over the season. He folds in all aspects of the characters from the ruthlessness of being a mob boss, the conflicted father, the loving husband, and obedient son. He believes in resolving conflict, unlike his hot-headed and impulsive son Munna played masterfully by Divyendu Sharma. The two actors complement each other’s style so perfectly, it’s a treat to watch.
Add to that, the slow-burn of Rasika Duggal’s searing act as Binny (the sole woman of the household for the most part). Then there is the patriarch Kulbhushan Kharabanda, who offers sage advice to his son, while eyeing the women of the house. With such powerful characters and performances, the Tripathi family has enough to hold a series on its own.
Indeed, one of Mirzapur’s highlights are the top-notch performances across the board.
Then there’s the topmost character of the film— the throne of Mirzapur. It’s coveted, and there are murders and machinations over it. The throne does find a ruler in the end. One wishes the series didn’t offer us a thrilling ride only to end on a fairly predictable finale.
Sonia Chopra is a critic, columnist and screenwriter with over 15 years of experience. She tweets on @soniachopra2
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